A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.
Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.
The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.
The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.
Yesterday drove through 250km of snow and blizzard on the insistent request of my mate, who apparently needed some variety to clear her head off the eider thoughts. If anybody does not know, she is intensely working on a book on the relationship between humans and eider ducks. Sometimes that results in brain overheat, thus the need for a cooling trip once in a while.
While the vast number of searches taking visitors to my www.kandalaksha.su remain unknown (only one out of about 16 shows), here is a summary of known search words/phrases that took visitors to my site during the last year:
There are few things more gloomy and depressing in this country than postapocalyptic style”garage coops”. Our car has been stuck in one of these, in Niva-3, an industrial outskirt of Kandalaksha, for the last two weeks for a welding job.
They ordered me to translate their site into English, and immediately uploaded these translations to snowtracker.ru/en/. Last March we ourselves took part in one of their 3-4 hour tours, were impressed, and can recommend Kola Expeditions to travellers looking for the “local spirit”.
I can meet you at the train station, help you check into a hotel, recommend a place to eat, suggest places to visit, take you there, keep you from getting lost, and in every other way make you stay in Kandalaksha pleasant and comfortable. All totally free if you speak English to me and encourage me to do the same.
Here are some photos from the recent trip to the tundra hills over the village of Kolvitsa, thanks to two Finnish travelers I took there. During a good half a day in the hills we met no one and saw not a single piece of trash. I think I’m starting to understand what draws people up there.
The white stuff is lichens. No reindeer here, thus lots of lichens.
These are much worse than mosquitoes. Unlike the latter, gnats slice off a patch of your skin. On Wendesday I got bitten by some during the trip to the hills, and my arms are still swollen and it still itches three days later. The all-knowing Alexandra says these will last about a week. One of the worse thing about gnats is they don’t really hurt when they initially attack you. ALWAYS WEAR LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT TO THE WOODS AND TAKE SOME INSECT-REPELLANT WITH YOU!!
Today I’m taking two Finnish travellers first to the Volostnaya hill, and then to the famous “Iron Gates” between the Domashniye (“home”) tundras and Okkatyeva hill, half-way between Luvenga and Kolvitsa. Wish us all luck.
Damn hackers had inserted their crap into www.kandalaksha.su, and it took the liquidweb.com tech support heroes a few days to take the malicious code out. I’ve had an eventful week too that included a trip to Chupa for a three-day conference, during which I made several discoveries that could be of interest to potential travellers to this remote corner of the world, and a series of reports to share these with you is coming up.